Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another Reaction To Obama's Speech

Debra Dickerson has an interesting essay in Mother Jones online edition:

In a post I found quite illuminating on the black prophetic tradition, I still note a troubling flaw from Melissa Harris-Lacewell, in The Root: "But we cannot enter that promised land together if white America refuses to acknowledge the prophetic truths of black religiosity. ...We cannot learn from our prophets if we denounce them. Silencing Jeremiah Wright will not makes us forget hundreds of years of racial inequality. Now is the time to listen to each other carefully." I see what whites are supposed to listen to, but blacks make up the 'other' here: to what are we supposed to listen?

In the only post written after the speech, I found this offering most helpful. Also from The Root, it's by WaPo religion reporter Hamil Harris:"But the lingering question out of this whole episode is whether Americans, black and white, can ever be liberated from a mindset in which it is always hard to believe that those who look differently from us can really be a brother or sister."


For too long, blacks have "asked" this question of whites, assured that the answer will, must, always be no. But, based on what I'm reading so far, it's time for whites to flip the script and ask blacks the same question. Don't ask whites to do what you have no intention of reciprocating; it takes two to transcend race. It only takes one to unleash a diatribe no one will listen to.

This, brothers and sisters, is where we begin. Not with reparations or the fight against affirmative action or the criminal justice system, or who's right and who's wrong. Do we actually want to co-exist peacefully in mutual respect? If so, how best is that to be achieved?

Black Intelligentsia: Holla If You Hear Obama

[quotes from the original]

In my own reaction to Sen. Obama's speech, I tried to get across the idea that part of what needs to happen for race relations to improve is for all sides to realize that the others are not going to be perfect, and that understanding the other point of view is just as important as stating our own. In reading it over, I realize I only emphasized that point using quotations, but that's certainly a feeling I got from that speech.

I'm glad to see I'm not alone.

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